All of us speak with an accent. Perhaps you speak English with an accent from a different region (Southern states, Northeast) in the United States. You might also speak English with an accent because it is not your first language. With so many people moving around in the world today, and people moving from state to state and from country to country, our accent is the thing that we take with us no matter where we move. Yet some people (especially business professionals) who speak English as a second language and have an accent, may want to modify how they sound. If you’re curious about accent modification for business, read the information to get some suggestions on how to move ahead.
What is an Accent?
An accent is the special way that speech is pronounced by a set of people who speak the same language. The way a person’s accent sounds is dependent on many factors; yet accents are typically categorized in the following way:
- Regional Accents – such as people who are from Alabama may sound different than those people who are from New York. These might also be called dialects.
- Foreign Accents – such as people who were raised speaking English will sound different than someone who was raised speaking Spanish and learned English as an adult.
Accents are an innate part of expressive language. It is crucial to recognize that no accent is superior to another. It should also be emphasized that accents are NOT a speech or language disorder but rather a difference.
Why is accent important?
If you are a non-native English speaker, you may be under the impression that it is impossible to get rid of your native accent and speak with an American accent. Speaking English like a native can be challenging for many English language learners. Furthermore, you may be hesitant to speak in English because of your local accent. Certainly, an accent that sounds native is important for non-native speakers to be understood clearly. This can usually be achieved through accent reduction or modification training that is best done with a speech therapist.
If you want to sound like a native English speaker, for example an American, reading and speaking in English is simply not enough. With the help of our 5 accent modification or accent reduction tips and through constant practice, you can get rid of your accent.
How does accent reduction or accent modification work?
Accent reduction training or accent modification for business with a speech language therapist is simply teaching speakers how to talk like native English speakers by showing how to hold and move their jaws, lips, tongue, and mouth when they make certain sounds, and training them in the standard speech patterns of American English, accent reduction professionals like speech therapists (who are available to provide sessions online) are able to help non-native speakers to pronounce words and eventually whole conversations with Standard American English pronunciation and intonation.
Perhaps You are Wondering if You Can change Your accent?
The answer is yes! Like with any other skill, with work and practice as well as the help of a qualified speech-language pathologist (SLP), you can grasp how to change your speech pronunciation. A speech therapist can offer services to people who want to modify or reduce their accent. People who receive these types of services include the following:
- Non-native English speakers
- Speakers who want to reduce or modify their regional accent (perhaps they moved to a new part of the country)
- Business or medical professionals who want to refine their communication proficiency because of a foreign or regional accent
- Actors or other people who present in front of a crowd who need to learn a new accent for a role or performance
Here are some tips on how to modify your accent:
Fake it till you make it!
Keep practicing! Choose words that are difficult to pronounce. Say them in front of the mirror and check if you are doing it right. You can do this every day, make it your daily routine. Tongue twisters can also be a good training exercise to modify an accent.
Read aloud and enunciate the words
Read a book, say the words aloud, speak slowly and enunciate each sound. Get used to saying the most difficult sounds in the English language which are “v and w”, “th”, “r”, and the vowel “o”. To be able to speak with an American English Accent, you don’t need to talk fast, instead, your goal is to make the listener understand you clearly. This is one of the best accent modification for business tips!
Listen and watch
A podcast is the most commonly used channel for listening. Choose a personality who speaks American English Accent like a new anchor. You can pause & play and listen to their pronunciation, rate of speech, the sounds in certain common words, and then mimic how they talk. Do this as a daily practice and your accent will already be modified.
Another way is to watch TV, Youtube, or streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO Go. Use these platforms to watch movies, programs, or TV series of people with American English accents. One way to reduce accent is to copy how they say the words, intonation they use in the sentence, and imitate how they deliver sentences, then keep repeating.
Record yourself and ask for feedback
Now it’s time to listen to yourself. You may think you are doing it right not until you hear yourself. It would be best for you to record a video so you can see how you talk. This is an effective way to evaluate which word or sound you are having the most difficulty pronouncing. When you enunciate the words, you might think that you are exaggerating them but you’re not. It’s part of accent reduction.
Show or let someone listen to you and ask for honest feedback. Create a checklist of things you need feedback with such as speed, volume, intonation, tone, and overall picture whether you were speaking unnaturally and comfortably. It will be a great help whether you need a little more practice or real thorough training.
Seek professional help
To achieve a distinctly American accent or even just reduce your accent, it’s still best to seek professional guidance. You can get accent modification for business help from a Speech-Language Pathologist, they can organize weekly plans focusing on your desired accent and eventually help you with accent reduction or even lose your current accent.
There are a bunch of tips out there to help accent reduction but without proper training and professional help, you won’t get the best results. With Therapy Works Together, we’ll help you speak with an American English Accent quickly and in the right way so you wont waste time.
At Therapy Works Together we provide speech therapy services to children and adults.
We care about every client achieving their communication goals.